Joint press point
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Slovak Republic, Andrej Kiska
President Kiska, it is a great pleasure to welcome you here at NATO Headquarters and thank you so much for the excellent talks and meeting we have just finished.
Slovakia plays an important role in our Alliance and I thank you for your contributions.
You support the measures we are taking to keep Allies safe.
You are helping to build security in Afghanistan. And Slovakia are strengthening our military capabilities through projects such as the Allied Ground Surveillance reconnaissance drones.
So I very much welcome our cooperation and I welcome your contributions. You just visited Kiev and we discussed the situation in Ukraine and we have all agreed that the Minsk agreement and the ceasefire is the basis for negotiated peaceful solution in Ukraine and it is therefore extremely important that the Minsk agreement and the ceasefire is respected and implemented in full.
We still see some incidents and that underlines that the ceasefire is fragile. But at the same time it seems like the overall picture is that the ceasefire is holding.
It is important that all sides respect their commitments and that the separatists backed by Russia do not use this pause in the fighting to prepare for a new offensive.
All heavy weapons have to be moved from the frontline in accordance with the Minsk agreement and the OCE monitors have to have full access to the area to be able to monitor the ceasefire.
The crisis in Ukraine but also the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa shows that we cannot take our security for granted. And that is the reason why we are making our forces more ready to deal with the security challenges we face.
This includes the creation of a new ‘Spearhead Force’ and the establishment of command and control centres in Eastern European Allied countries.
These measures will ensure that we will be able to defend all Allies. And we are glad to be able to state that we are implementing what we call the Readiness Action Plan according to our plans and our commitments and it’s on track.
We know that increase investments in our collective defence is not something that comes for free.
That’s also the reason why NATO leaders at the Summit last fall in Wales decided on the defence investment pledge stating that we are going to stop the cuts in defence spending, gradually increase defence spending as our economies grow and then reach 2% of GDP for defence spending over a decade.
And I welcome what you stated so clearly in our meeting that Slovakia is going to increase defence spending to invest more in defence but also to invest more in new equipment new technologies.
Because that is something which is really needed in the whole Alliance making sure we are able to deliver as we promised to do.
I know this is not easy. But I count on you and I look forward to continue our cooperation and I am very glad to have had this opportunity to meet with you Mr. President, welcome.
Andrej Kiska, President of Slovak Republic : The most important topic we discussed today was Ukraine.
And Slovakia has a border to Ukraine and its very crucial for our country whats going on there, last week i personally was in Kiev and had long discussion with President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatseniuk but these discussions which I had in Kiev last week was mostly about the reference? in Ukraine.
Today, was more about security and we all agree that the ceasefire exists but it’s very fragile but we have to do our very best to keep the cease fire.
Russia has its own responsibility for keeping the ceasefire in place and generally we have to say that security in Europe has worsened and now we face challenges which we could even have not imagined a few years ago.
For Slovakia NATO is crucial for our security and I am glad that all Slovak top officials are fully aware of our resp in this context
In the NATO Summit in Wales, in full agreement with cabinet i announced our commitments and we have our resp to our citizens to fulfil them, and we have pledged that our def budget will rise and today I was glad also to confirm process of modernisation of Slovak armed forces has begun,
Our mission is to reduce our dependence on Russian military equipment.
The very crucial topic also today with SG is information war. Its not enough to have the best weapons, we have to focus also on campaign to manipulate our public opinion in our countries. And we have to be able to defend ourselves against an organised spread of disinformation. This is not to deny discussion to have a different opinion, but we are talking about manipulating effects and clear lies. And in context of what’s going on in Ukraine, we can see really a lot of increase in this information war and we have to face problem which is much bigger than before. So I ask the SG to deal with this issue and that we have to pay to pay attention to this problem
Q : RTVS, Slovak public broadcaster – for SG, what is role of Slovakia in near future, in Ukraine crisis, space to increase?
SG: Slovakia can be part of our efforts in the alliance to support Ukraine and Slovakia is already doing that but i think we can all step up and do even more, its about political support and practical support for Ukraine and Slovakia is already doing that already. Just the visit of the President to Kiev was was a sign of political support for Ukraine, for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. And Slovakia and NATO we all are strongly supporting the peace process, the Minsk agreement and full implementation of the Minsk agreement and the ceasefire, This is political support provided by Slovakia, and provided by NATO.
In addition Slovakia is providing practical support. Slovakia is supporting one of the trust funds to help and assist Ukraine. Supporting the trust fund for medical rehab which is key and very much needed, so I thank Slovakia for its contribution, and of course we always welcome more because there is a great need in Ukraine for both strong political and practical support and also support to the different trust funds, including medical rehab which Slovakia is supporting
Q : Slovak news agency - How NATO fighting info war? Does NATO have instruments to deal with this issue?
SG : Yes, we have the strength because to counter this kind of propaganda because we are such a strong alliance of 28 democracies. So I think both as Alliance and also as nation states, are answering and are facing and countering the propaganda and information war which we see that is going on and which is a way to try to undermine the coherence and unity of the alliance, but its not successful because actually NATO is stronger and more united than we have been for a very long time. And we stay united both when it comes to the message in defending the right of Ukraine to decide its own future but also we stand united in the decision and implementation of enforcing and increasing our own collective defence, being able to defend all allies against any threat. We don’t believe that we should meet propaganda with propaganda. And it might be that lies and propaganda get some traction in the short term but in the long run we are certain that the truth will prevail. And therefore facts, taking part in the open debate in open democracies, both from nation states but also as an Alliance is the best way of countering the propaganda we see.